We love indoor soccer because it is a fast-paced, high-energy sport. Indoor soccer, unlike its outdoor counterpart, is high-scoring, and possession changes quickly.

Just as quickly, it seems, changes happen within the sport of professional indoor soccer. As we prepare for the season, here are a few of the notable ones:

1. The first American team for which Preki played, the Tacoma Stars, moves up to the pros! The Stars currently hold the 2009-10 National Championship Title for the PASL-Premier (amateur league). Owner Marion Bowers is rewarding the team for its hard work and dedication, as well as the community for its support. In the PASLPro, the Stars will play more competitive games beyond their locality, and fans will have more home games. For a complete schedule visit www.tacomastars.com.

2. Some of us may have been suspicious upon learning about the signings of former championship-winning Monterrey LaRaZa players Victor Quiroz and Joseph Bontti by the Omaha Vipers in September. ‘Tis true: LaRaZa will not be playing in the MISL this season. The official reason: “the devastation caused this summer by Hurricane Alex, which had a severe economic impact on the city of Monterrey,” not to mention the effects of the violence brought on by Mexican drug cartels that has sadly found its way into this once peaceful city.

3. The Rockford Rampage changed ownership and is now known as the Chicago Riot. According to the MISL website, “Peter Wilt, who has previously led successful Chicago soccer teams in the NPSL (Power), MLS (Fire) and WPS (Red Stars), is a part owner of the Riot and will serve as the team’s President, CEO and official spokesperson.” Wilt is a former MLS Executive of the Year. Jeff Kraft, former head coach of the Rockford Rampage, has been retained as head coach and will also serve as Chicago’s Director of Team Operations. The Riot will play its home games at USIndoor member facility Odeum Sports & Expo Center in Villa Park.

The Riot seems to have much going for it, except, of course, its name. So-called after a tragic racial riot in 1919, the “Chicago Riot” remains one of the bloodiest in US history. Why anyone would want to risk confusing its name with such genuine tragedy and in the hometown of our first Black President is shocking.

In response, Wilt told Ryan Sealock in the online publication, Hot Time in Old Town, “I consider the Riot kind of like the Bad News Bears of indoor soccer. In fact, the name Riot intentionally references some of the toughest times in Chicago history. Specifically, it symbolizes the Lager Beer Riot of 1855, the Haymarket Square Riot, and other altercations that have occurred in the history of Chicago. While all of these events were tragic, they also helped lead Chicago to better conditions for which each Riot occurred. So the Riot name also helps embody the progress that was made in the wake of these events.”

Sometimes progress is hard to recognize when we’re right in the middle of it.

4. With the addition of the Omaha Vipers, the Missouri Comets and Chicago Riot, the casual observer might think the Major Indoor Soccer League has grown to eight teams. The official schedule, available at www.MISL.net, reveals, however, Monterrey and the Philadelphia KiXX have gone dormant, and the Rockford Rampage changed ownership and names. Consequently, the league remains at five teams. Philadelphia owner Jeffrey Rotwitt claims the team is not folding, only taking a break because they are disappointed with the small number of teams participating in the league this year--made smaller by the KiXX’s refusal to play.

5. The PASL-Pro continues to grow. The four returning Eastern Division teams include the Detroit Waza, Louisville Lightning, Cincinnati Kings, and the Ohio Vortex. According to PR Director Sydney Nusinov, “Cincinnati, the two-time defending Eastern Division champs, are moving into the spacious Cincinnati Gardens this season after going 16-0 the last two years at the intimate Game Time Training Center. The Vortex will play their entire season at the Canton Civic Center after splitting time at two venues last year.” Returning to the Western Division are the California Cougars and the defending North American Champion San Diego Sockers, joined by Revolución Tijuana and the Tacoma Stars. For up-to-the-minute PASL schedule information, visit www.arenaleague.com.

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